Law Practice Management

Ex-Office Manager Pleads Guilty to Stealing $556K from 2 Law Firms

In the latest version of an all-too-familiar story, a former office manager for two New York law firms has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $500,000 from her ex-employers.

Paulette Reed, 44, pleaded guilty to two second-degree grand larceny charges; the prosecution in the Erie County case says she took a total of $556,765 from Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman and Simpson and Simpson over a six-year period, reports the Buffalo News.

Reed allegedly used law firm checks, wire transfers and bank checks to steal $282,357 from Lippes Mathias between May 2003 through February 2008, while working there as the firm’s office manager and bookkeeper. Between July 2008 and July 2009 she allegedly took another $274,408 from the Simpson firm, where she worked as its business manager and accountant.

Reed said she used the money to pay college tuition for her children and for household bills. She has already repaid $250,000 to the Lippes firm and over $5,000 to the Simpson firm.

She is to be sentenced in May. With full restitution, she could get probation; the maximum possible sentence is 15 years.

Related earlier coverage: (Feb. 2010): “As Paralegal Gets 46 Months in $1.7M Theft, 2 Law Firm Workers are Indicted in Unrelated Cases” (Nov. 2009): “Law Firm Manager Gets 41 Months for Embezzling $1.3M” (June 2009): “Hired By Counsel in Earlier Theft Case, Woman Pleads to Defrauding New Firm” (Sept. 2008): “‘Rush’ From $1.4M Law Firm Thefts Followed By Jail Term” (July 2008): “Ex-Employee Gets 20 Years in 2 Law Firm Theft Schemes” (June 2008): “Sobbing Bookkeeper Sentenced for Stealing $4.3M From Brother’s Law Firm”

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